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Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist? (Read 8558 times)

Offline liszt85

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Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
« on: August 27, 2015, 03:58:45 PM »
I am an advanced amateur classical pianist (> 20 years of playing). I just sold my Yamaha acoustic upright piano because I need to downsize due to an impending move :(.

I am looking for a stage piano with a great action that I can use for practice at home as well as for recording (both classical and pop, since I write my own songs as well). I would also like to use the piano for occasional performances (2-3 a year). I'm considering the following:

  • Roland RD 800
  • Yamaha CP4
  • Kawai MP7
  • Kawai MP11
  • Casio PX-5S
  • Kawai VPC1 with some piano software

What would you recommend out of these and why? I have called many retailers in my area but none of them carry stage pianos. They only carry workstations which I am not interested in. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Offline visitor

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #1 on: August 27, 2015, 04:06:55 PM »
i'd get the kawai. closest thing to a real action you'll get. build quality and track record is there. it's the honda of pianos.

Offline liszt85

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 04:55:43 PM »
i'd get the kawai. closest thing to a real action you'll get. build quality and track record is there. it's the honda of pianos.

Which one? MP11?

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 12:07:25 AM »
Wow, some tough contenders there. It's between the RD 800, the MP11 and the VCP1 for sure. But much depends on your own idea of what your dream action should be. The RD should be the lightest of these listed if it follows suit to it's predecessor, the RD 700.

But both the Kawai MP11 and the V have full length grand piano keys with wooden cores. Balance should be like a real grand. If you don't want any accompaniment sounds ( strings etc) go with the V and VST software. Gotta say Pianoteq for me gets pretty close in recordings with my older MP6.

The MP11, the V and the RD all require an external sound system. The MP7 as well.

Long story short.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline liszt85

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 02:18:08 AM »
Wow, some tough contenders there. It's between the RD 800, the MP11 and the VCP1 for sure. But much depends on your own idea of what your dream action should be. The RD should be the lightest of these listed if it follows suit to it's predecessor, the RD 700.

But both the Kawai MP11 and the V have full length grand piano keys with wooden cores. Balance should be like a real grand. If you don't want any accompaniment sounds ( strings etc) go with the V and VST software. Gotta say Pianoteq for me gets pretty close in recordings with my older MP6.

The MP11, the V and the RD all require an external sound system. The MP7 as well.

Long story short.

I'd like to eventually prepare for amateur piano competitions. So I'm very much leaning toward the MP11 or the VPC1. I don't mind getting monitors for the sound (only because I want my baby to listen to live piano, if not, I'm perfectly content using my Sennheiser HD 598 open-back headphones). Btw, I do have a pair of nice bookshelf speakers (Emp Tek) that I could use with the stage piano to save money for now. I'll do my primary practice/playing through headphones.

Of those, I'm drawn to the MP11 since I won't need to tinker around with a computer to get sound out of it, but the downside of course is the weight which might be ok since I might only look to perform a couple of times a year.

Is the Casio PX-5S any good? I'm not exactly rolling in cash, so if that's a decent piano (for my needs), I could certainly do with expending less money.  

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 06:50:32 AM »
I don't know if I have tried this particular Casio, but those I HAVE tried, have not pleased me. They feel very light and plastic to me. My own digital is a Yamaha 465GP, heavy and graded action there which does not differ very much from an acoustic grand (at least not the Yamaha grands which also have heavy action). But I am very curious to try the Kawai VPC out now, as it has wooden keys and I believe that will matter.

I have Pianoteq here on my laptop and it works very well with my digital, and I like the opportunity to easily make post-editing of what it has recorded. But I also tried to be smart and install it on my little mini-PC which I don't use for other purposes any longer. It would be an easy arrangement at the piano, I thought. But - this did not work at all, as the sound card of this mini PC could not handle the software.  :(  It is too old, I suppose.
So Pianoteq is an excellent choice for piano software as it does not require much hard disc space, hence can do well with your multi-purpose laptop/desktop computer, but make sure the computer is reasonably new ...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 08:21:33 AM »
I'd like to eventually prepare for amateur piano competitions. So I'm very much leaning toward the MP11 or the VPC1. I don't mind getting monitors for the sound (only because I want my baby to listen to live piano, if not, I'm perfectly content using my Sennheiser HD 598 open-back headphones). Btw, I do have a pair of nice bookshelf speakers (Emp Tek) that I could use with the stage piano to save money for now. I'll do my primary practice/playing through headphones.

Of those, I'm drawn to the MP11 since I won't need to tinker around with a computer to get sound out of it, but the downside of course is the weight which might be ok since I might only look to perform a couple of times a year.

Is the Casio PX-5S any good? I'm not exactly rolling in cash, so if that's a decent piano (for my needs), I could certainly do with expending less money.  

The MP11 and VCP1 will have the closest feeling action to a real grand piano. That isn't to say the MP7 is bad but it will be balanced differently. Even my MP6, which preceded the MP7 has nice action. It's a touch heavier than my real grand. Both the MP7 and the MP11 have a triple sensor system now and new sound engines. The MP11 is slightly richer but again that doesn't mean the MP7 is bad. Any D piano will sound as good as it's sound system but a program like Pianoteq brings another level to the table. Clarity, richness, deep bass clarity are all homes at Pianoteq. In Pinaoteq, even the stage version, there must be 20 renditions of a Steinway D and all tweakable.maybe another 15 K2 Pianos which are much like Yamaha grands, all tweakable. And I bought into the Klemsegg collection which gives me C.Bechstein richness. But Kawai puts some nice sounding Grands in their instruments too. The sounds are a little thinner than in Pianoteq and record as such. But if you use good recording software you can thicken them up. Also the MP7 and 11 have a technician based software on board that I have not played with, my MP6 is a bit more analog in that way. either way that can take you a long ways towards modelling a real piano. Pianoteq wins out in sympathetic resonance and such sounds. It's not expensive, it does work best with an external sound card ( audio interface), that can make a huge difference in output volume and clarity. One as simple as the Scarlett 2i2 will do the trick. I use the 2i4 personally.

I don't even consider Casio, I've played on several of them and never been happy about anything to do with them. But again , if you did find one that you liked the action on and you ran it through Pianoteq, it would sound just the same as Kawai, Yamaha or Roland run through the same software. Casio too now has a triple sensored layout, not sure on which models. I'm not interested enough for that to matter.

The feel of the keys on the RD 800 is awesome. But you are paying for really a work station with full sound sequencer on board. You could remake the whole Startrek series of music with the thing. If that's worth the almost $3000 US list price for one ( I think it's around $2600 most places these days), then so be it. But you seem to have a bit of a budget going on here ( understandable, you don't know the budget system quite in the same way till you retire LOL ! That's me now, so I get that you must budget, cool.). I don't think you will find much disappointment in the MP7. It's lighter than an 11, it's still Pro grade but it does have plastic keys with lots of metal too compared to all wood.

In work stations, the Korg Krome series is very good. I came close to buying one for $1500, the Krome 88. The piano sounds were awesome and you could track in whole symphonies if you wanted to. I think there is 1500 different instrument sounds on board, again a sequencer, so you can track this stuff, fade it etc. Really an on board sound studio is what it's about. And you pay for that, sometimes in trading off realistic piano touch.

I'm done now, as if this post is not long enough,  this could become 'very' long but you have to decide not me !! LOL. And it's your budget.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 01:36:38 PM »
Sorry it's me again ! Worth noting, the VPC1 has RM3 action. The MP11 has GF action ( grand feel). The difference basically ? The GF is 1" longer than the RM 3, giving it a different balance point and thus smoother and full length of the RX Kawai acoustic grand pianos.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline liszt85

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 02:24:43 PM »
Sorry it's me again ! Worth noting, the VPC1 has RM3 action. The MP11 has GF action ( grand feel). The difference basically ? The GF is 1" longer than the RM 3, giving it a different balance point and thus smoother and full length of the RX Kawai acoustic grand pianos.

Thanks for your detailed replies. That really helps. Given that I want to prepare for amateur piano competitions, I feel like going with the MP11 might be the best choice for me. However, I do want to try these out before I make the purchase. I'm still a poor student. The cash I have comes from the sale of my beloved acoustic upright. So I want to spend my cash wisely.

Other than classical piano, I do write my own songs (pop/rock genres). I also want to create backing tracks for my wife to sing. This is why the MP7/RD800 look attractive to me over the MP11. However, I'm assuming that the 40 voices that the MP11 does come with will suffice for most of my needs.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #10 on: August 28, 2015, 03:18:03 PM »
Thanks for your detailed replies. That really helps. Given that I want to prepare for amateur piano competitions, I feel like going with the MP11 might be the best choice for me. However, I do want to try these out before I make the purchase. I'm still a poor student. The cash I have comes from the sale of my beloved acoustic upright. So I want to spend my cash wisely.

Other than classical piano, I do write my own songs (pop/rock genres). I also want to create backing tracks for my wife to sing. This is why the MP7/RD800 look attractive to me over the MP11. However, I'm assuming that the 40 voices that the MP11 does come with will suffice for most of my needs.

The MP11, I assume ( big assumption), will take in recorded music and run it. But I don't think it will sequence, not sure about that but I think not. None the less, you could midi it out via USB to software that will run all the tracks you want ( I use Mixcraft 7 with my MP6 personally but there are others). Through a program like Mixcraft there is endless instrumentation possibilities, run on backing tracks , loops, live, recorded etc. Just another thing to learn LOL ! I run Pianoteq as a plug in to Mixcraft. But if you want on board sequencing then I suggest you study up on work stations, Yamaha, The RD 800, etc. just know that it is not a must have as long as you don't mind tethering to a laptop. I use an Asus i5 Notebook with a Scarlett 2i4 audio interface/sound card and have done it on my larger Toshiba i3 that I have the same programs installed in. No the selling point of the Mp11 is the action.

Yes, if you can play them all, go do it !! I can't tell you how many pianos I played before I bought the Kawai, I mean like lots, many, a dozen and half maybe. Then I laid back to think for about 3 months, knowing that really I wanted either the MP6, MP10 or the RD 700 at that time. The new ones weren't out yet. The MP6 just came up on a super deal from Musicians Friend, I couldn't pass it up and that's why I own it over the others. No other reason. All three had good action. It was a $2000 piano, that sold regularly for $1800 and change and I got it for $1200 because it was on a Holiday sale and they offered a coupon for $200 off as well. I entered the codes, the sale info and it all went through. About 4 days later it was in my living room.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline liszt85

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #11 on: August 28, 2015, 03:21:15 PM »
The new ones weren't out yet. The MP6 just came up on a super deal from Musicians Friend, I couldn't pass it up and that's why I own it over the others. No other reason. All three had good action. It was a $2000 piano, that sold regularly for $1800 and change and I got it for $1200 because it was on a Holiday sale and they offered a coupon for $200 off as well. I entered the codes, the sale info and it all went through. About 4 days later it was in my living room.

Awesome! I am in no rush to buy since I'm moving to the DC area in December. So it might be better to buy once I get there and hopefully there'll be some holiday sales in Dec that I can take advantage of though I suspect I might not get a deal like you did if they aren't coming up with new models in 2016.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #12 on: August 28, 2015, 03:33:08 PM »
At Musicians Friend site they often run a flag at the top of the page that says something like : Coupons ? Call our gear heads at such and such a number. Well, it worked , $200 off, he gave me a code. The same thing when I bought Adam Audio Studio Monitors. I got a really good deal on those. So keep it in mind, it's not on every product, I lucked out .

be careful with new found money floating around the household, it's really easy to burn it up  !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline liszt85

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Re: Stage piano for an advanced amateur classical pianist?
«Reply #13 on: August 28, 2015, 03:37:41 PM »
be careful with new found money floating around the household, it's really easy to burn it up  !

Yes indeed. :) $3K for a piano that will serve me well for at least a decade isn't too bad. The downside to buying a digital is the depreciation. The Yamaha upright ended up paying for itself and more when I sold it, so I essentially used it for free for 4 productive years. Not going to be the case with a stage piano. Considering buying one only because we need to downsize going to a way more expensive city. :(